Gun Laws Lobbying

Handgun (KSN File Photo)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas lawmaker is questioning if it was legal for a representative of the Unified Government of Kansas City and Wyandotte County to testify recently on a pro-gun bill.

State Rep. Brett Hildabrand, R-Shawnee, said he’s considering asking Attorney General Derek Schmidt for a legal opinion on whether Mike Taylor, a lobbyist for the Unified Government of Kansas City, violated a law approved last year on lobbying and gun issues.

Taylor spoke Friday against House Bill 2473, which would prohibit cities and counties from restricting the open carry of firearms and knives and from using tax dollars to administer gun buyback programs. The measure is backed the National Rifle Association and Kansas State Rifle Association, whose representatives say gun owners shouldn’t have to contend with a variety of local rules governing rights to carry guns.

During his testimony Friday, Taylor said that while open carry of a gun might be all right western Kansas, it would raise alarms in an urban environment.

“Not every community is the same,” he said.

Hildabrand, who supports the bill, said he felt Taylor may have broken the law by testifying because, as he understood it, the law on lobbying and gun issues meant “taxpayer money can’t be used to lobby against the Second Amendment because that is constitutional law.”

Taylor, however, said the law says state tax dollars can’t be used to try to influence gun control legislation, and that he is paid through local revenue. Taylor also said Hildabrand was trying to silence opposing viewpoints, the newspaper reported.

“It’s a trend I see more and more in this building,” Taylor said.

Taylor also questioned whether the law may actually prohibit legislators from proposing gun legislation, since it bans the use of state tax dollars on the issue.

“Does that prohibit a legislator talking about gun legislation?” Taylor asked. “That would be ridiculous too.”

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